Irvine makes instant impact on Roos return

·2-min read

Socceroo Jackson Irvine is making up for lost time after missing out on March's World Cup qualifying losses to Japan and Saudi Arabia.

The midfielder was one of several key absentees for the March window due to COVID-19 or injury, as Australia missed out on an automatic qualifying berth for this year's World Cup.

Helpless in Germany as Australia slumped to back-to-back defeats, Irvine arrived this month for the must-win World Cup play-off matches in Qatar eager to have an impact on the Socceroo's quest to qualify for a fifth-straight finals.

The 29-year-old ended up playing a key role in Tuesday's (Wednesday AEST) win over the United Arab Emirates, opening the scoring in the 53rd minute as Australia claimed a 2-1 win to move into next week's winner-takes-all play-off against Peru.

It was Irvine's fourth goal of the qualifying campaign in which he also contributed five assists, becoming a central part of Graham Arnold's plans.

"It was really, really tough," Irvine said of missing out on the last window.

"It was a COVID test on the way to the airport, literally. That's the way football is and that's the way the world is and unfortunately I missed out on those two games.

"The chance to come back in here and add something to the group again, for myself personally to contribute with a goal, and around the place I try and bring energy and bring a bit of experience to the group.

"It was obviously tough to watch from afar but I'm glad I'm in now and can be amongst the boys this week."

Irvine was a substitute when Australia lost 2-0 to Peru in the 2018 World Cup.

He is under no illusions the Socceroos will need to improve to overcome the world No.22 and reach this year's finals, but also believes there's no reason Australia cannot get the result they desire.

"We're full of energy and confidence and I think there's a lot of positives to take from (Tuesday) and lots to learn from as well, which is always a good sign," he said.

"We'll use the week to analyse and look at those small fine margins that we can improve upon again because next week is going to be an even tougher game for us."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting